I’m taking a break! The mountains are calling.

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Those of you who watched the last Change the Shed or saw my newsletter last week know that I’m taking a little time away from my office. The last several years of writing a book and producing two new online courses* have taken a lot of the zing out of me and I’m ready for a long hike.

One of my favorite activities is long distance backpacking. That just means backpacking but for a long time over hundreds of miles. Backpackers call it thru-hiking if you finish a long trail. I’m going to attempt that this year, but I’m not making any promises. I’ve had a few health challenges recently and I’m not going to force my body to do anything it isn’t ready for. But I’ve been training and am feeling strong and the miles are coming easier.

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I’ll be hiking the Colorado Trail which is about 500 miles long and stretches from Denver to Durango. I’ve hiked this trail in its entirety once and hiked many 100-200 mile sections in the years since. I’d like to do the whole thing again. A thru-hike is never guaranteed no matter how much planning you do and maybe that is part of the appeal. The biggest threat for me is wildfire. The South San Juans have been getting some rain the last few weeks, but they are generally dry as a bone and full of standing dead timber. The second half of the trail traverses this huge swath of Colorado. It will only be luck if there isn’t a big burn there this year (so say the fire experts anyway).

I’ll be taking some fleece, a spindle, and a tiny loom with me along with journaling and drawing supplies. It is likely I’ll post images to my Instagram account as I go including the things I’m weaving. But the main idea is to leave electronics behind, to watch the clouds, experience the rain (and mosquitoes), and unwind a bit. That will allow me to come back in the fall with my good cheer intact and a whole flood of new ideas.

Some of you have asked exactly what that means for Change the Shed, my Tapestry Picks newsletter, the blog, and the online courses. Below are those answers.

  1. Change the Shed: July 7th was the last episode for a few months. I’ll be back in the fall with a new tapestry. In the meantime, you can watch the 66 episodes already up HERE.

  2. Tapestry Picks: I usually send this newsletter every Thursday. I will be sending one or two more in July but then will take a break while I’m hiking. You can sign up HERE so you receive them when I’m back.

  3. The blog: I put up a new blog post every week. I won’t be following that schedule for the rest of the summer, but I believe I will be posting (because I can’t resist). I’ll have intermittent updates about the trail and my fiber/artistic explorations out in the mountains. You can always visit the blog directly HERE and if you get the blog via email, you’ll get that email automatically whenever I post (sign up for that is in the sidebar at that blog link). I will be putting up a few more posts this month about my travel weaving kit and my preparation for the hike, so stop by if you’re interested!

  4. Online courses: My courses will continue as they usually do. I will not be answering questions daily as I usually do, but will check in from time to time as I’m able. While on the trail there are long stretches with zero cell service and of course I am doing this to unwind and find center again. There aren’t any tapestry emergencies, but I do understand that there are sometimes frustrations. Please help out your fellow students where you can and know that your questions are important to me and I’ll get to them as I’m able. If you’re in the Facebook group for my students, that is a wonderful place to find some excellent help. And I will have my assistant Holly helping out with any technical issues. I’ll provide her email to all of you in the courses before I head out on the hike.

I hope whatever you’re doing this summer, you take a moment to listen to the birds or to watch the clouds fly by overhead. Have fun weaving and check back here for the stories about my adventure.

A training hike on the Colorado Trail, Segment 5. The trail marker is a triangle that says Colorado Trail on it, but this one has been swallowed by the tree.

A training hike on the Colorado Trail, Segment 5. The trail marker is a triangle that says Colorado Trail on it, but this one has been swallowed by the tree.

If you’d like to know more about the Colorado Trail, take a look at the Colorado Trail Foundation’s website. It is a 500-mile trail from Littleton, CO (Denver) to Durango. I’ve done multiple trail crews working on this trail which is a great way to understand the work that goes into creating such a well-graded experience for the hiker, bike rider, or equestrian. This is the best maintained trail I have ever hiked and the work of the volunteers through the CTF is consistently incredible.

This trail is my favorite in part because I know a lot of it quite well. Returning to sections again and again is like going home. And experiencing the same place in different seasons over the years deepens the knowledge of a place and reminds me to watch for what is new and different. I’m looking forward to watching the birds, seeing moose, domestic sheep herds, elk, deer, and bighorn sheep. I may also see bears and one day if I’m lucky, a mountain lion. Those last two are incredible experiences, but I definitely don’t search them out. Seeing a bear from 1/2 mile away is a great thing! Seeing one 100 feet in front of you on the trail is heart-stopping (though each time this has happened, the bear has looked at me and ambled away slowly—and yes, I take GREAT care in my food prep and storage. I’ll be carrying a bear canister this year. It is time for us all to do this.).

Next week I’ll have a blog post with the weaving/spinning kit I’m taking with me this year and then my posts will be intermittent until sometime in September. The mountains are calling! If you want to know what I’m up to, check Instagram.

*You can take those courses! Design Solutions for the Artist/Weaver, Seasons 1 and 2 are available at these links. Season 1 is HERE. Season 2 is HERE.